Duckworth defends D/L after Collingwood blast

Providence: Frank Duckworth, the co-creator of the Duckworth-Lewis (D/L) method for settling rain-affected matches, has leapt to its defence after it came under fire from England captain Paul Collingwood.

But he said the International Cricket Council (ICC) needs to look at the minimum length of an innings required to constitute a Twenty20 match.

Collingwood was left fuming after England suffered an eight-wicket loss to the West Indies in the visitors’ tournament opener here on Monday, despite scoring 191 – a challenging Twenty20 total.

Rain, though, left the West Indies with a target of 60 from six overs.

At present, five overs of the second innings of a Twenty20 international must be played in order for a winner to be declared and Duckworth told The Wisden Cricketer: “The ICC ought to look into whether five overs for a valid match is appropriate because you can get this apparent distortion.”

Collingwood was damning in his assessment of D/L as it applied to Twenty20, having seen his side bow out of last year’s World Twenty20 to the West Indies in similar circumstances at the Oval.

“I don’t know what equation you should have but you shouldn’t have that one,” said Collingwood.

“We’ve played a near perfect game but we’ve lost,” the all-rounder added.

“There’s a major problem with this Duckworth-Lewis in this form of the game. It certainly has to be revised for this form of the game.”

But Duckworth, who devised the system with fellow statistician Tony Lewis, countered by saying: “While Paul Collingwood may have been angry at Messrs Duckworth and Lewis, he might have been angry at (England bowlers) Messrs (Tim) Bresnan, (Graeme) Swann and co who added to the four wides that they bowled before the rain by adding four more wides.

“So, the West Indies target wasn’t just 60, it was effectively 52.”

Duckworth added: “Since Twenty20 came into the world in 2002, there have been about 70 cases of T20 with a D/L revised target or result.

“And there’s only been two moments of dissent, both by Paul Collingwood or ECB (England and Wales Cricket Board) people, both following England not doing very well against the West Indies. It’s the high-profile matches that attract attention.

“The other 68 matches -- like the one that occurred earlier (on Monday, between Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe), nobody queried that and in fact the result went the other way. The side batting first (Sri Lanka) won.”

Duckworth and Lewis updated their system in October last year after examining data that Duckworth insisted proved the method did not require wholesale revision for Twenty20 matches.

“As a result of that analysis we did decide that a few changes were needed but these were only slight adjustments to the parameter of the formula.

“The important thing that we did discover was that the scoring patterns in Twenty20 fit in perfectly with our original formula derived largely from 50-over games.”

Bureau Report